Investing in apartment buildings

Apartment Investing: “Do I really have to go back to school to learn it?”

We’re in that season when people across the country are graduating from high schools and other institutions. I don’t know about you, but seeing these events always brings back a mix of emotions.

On the one hand, those were some really good times. I don’t just mean the parties, which could get epic. The good part also extended to challenging yourself in the classroom and on the playing field, and having your eyes opened to history and subjects that you had no clue about. 

The flipside of those good times were the many bad aspects of school, and that’s what I want to talk about today. This is not an article about reminiscing, but instead about how “going to school” on apartment investing beats the pants off the educational system we all went through.

Confession time

As you may know, I’ve been teaching apartment investing for a couple of decades. I’ve done one-on-one teaching, all the way up to being on stage with former U.S. presidents in auditoriums filled with 50,000 people. 

I have a confession to make: when it’s time to describe the learning process of apartment investing, I always kind of wince internally. That’s because if I use words like “training” or “real estate education” or “school”, I can just see how I might send chills down people’s spines, as they recall the unpleasant aspects of being in a traditional school.

The thing is, learning real estate investing is incredibly different from the types of constraints most of us suffered through in high school. 

Let’s therefore look at some of the traditional aspects of our educational system, and how they compare with learning how to invest in apartments. I’ll focus on the warnings still ringing in my head from the bad old days, and how it’s different from learning to invest in apartments.

“Class is Monday-Friday at 8am. Attendance is 20% of your grade.”

Ah, the fond memory of my hair hurting from the previous night’s activities, and now having to get up to wolf down a quick breakfast and sprint all the way across campus to be at class by 8am.

I can certainly see how such rules may be necessary to corral kids into class, but learning apartment investing is quite different. Sure, if you pay to attend a three-day event, you’ll need to get to that event on time. But hey, it’s only three days and not a semester.

“Class participation is 15% of your grade.”

It definitely is good to participate in class. However, lots of people don’t love to hear themselves talk, but they instead learn by thinking. It’s OK to be quiet when you’re in a class about real estate investing. A good activity is when people break into groups to solve a problem, but even then it’s not an issue if you decide to hang back and soak it all in.

“You better keep up with the reading or you’ll get hopelessly behind.”

There is no external schedule when you are learning to invest in apartments. You can do it at your own preferred pace. It certainly is true that the more time you can devote to learning the craft, the sooner you’ll reap the rewards. Even so, the reality is that many apartment investors start while they’re holding down full-time jobs, in addition to family responsibilities. Maybe they’re lucky to wrestle 30 minutes a day of free time. If that’s the case, then great: they’re making progress and moving forward. Any time, regularly spent, will move you in the direction of your goal.

“You better exercise your memory big time, because the exam is ‘closed book’ and you cannot bring anything into the exam room.”

There is no exam room. There is no requirement to have a great memory when Investing in apartment buildings. You can have the memory of a parrot and still do OK. That’s because you can have whatever checklists, notes, and guides you want, when the time comes to analyze a deal. If you have coaching, then you can run that deal by your coach and get an expert opinion.

“We have proctors watching, so that no one cheats by looking at someone else’s work.”

We encourage looking at each other’s work! That’s a great way to learn. With apartment investing, the more you can learn from others, the better.

“The exam has strict time limits. You must complete the work within that time, or you will be penalized.”

Real-world time limits are not like that. Sure, there are deadlines and expiration dates, but often it’s possible to negotiate extensions. After all, in a “win-win” transaction, everyone wants it to succeed.

Don’t get me wrong

I don’t want you to come away feeling like apartment investing is a “no-brainer” because that’s not the case. It’s a skill, and skills take time to learn. The good news is that you can learn that skill at your own pace, and without silly, arbitrary rules.

Results count for 100% of your grade

That’s the beauty of Investing in apartment complexes: everything is about the results. When you go to deposit a check at the bank, the teller does not ask you if you earned the money through painful, closed-book exams under time pressure. Once you put in the time to learn the skill of apartment investing, you actually can reach a point where the checks are bigger and your work is less. 

That’s a beautiful thing, and it’s why I love to spread the word about how apartment investing can change your life, the way it has for me.

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